Florida plans ban on owning pythons, many other high-risk reptiles

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – If wildlife officials get their way later this month, Florida will ban owning or breeding six types of pythons, the green anaconda and nine other “high-risk” reptiles.

Biologists say the scaly subjects of their prohibition wreak ecological mayhem by swallowing native birds, mammals as large as deer, and in the Burmese python’s case, also spread a foreign parasite that chokes native pygmy rattlesnakes to death.

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But serpent lovers and critics of the proposal say the move is nothing less than a state-orchestrated snake-pocalypse targeting their pets and businesses. They argue the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lacks science to justify the ban, is biased against their trade, and has much bigger exotic fish and invasive species to fry than snakes kept by hobbyists.



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